Lots of discussion and thoughts on syncronicity (sp?) and won't get into it all, but thought I'd share a few experiences..
Meeting some fellow DFers, chances to meet with and talk to Rick Doblin and many MAPS staff and volunteers, etc. worked in perfectly with what was needed, mind states and thoughts and energy begetting energy in a perfectly aligned journey forward, coming full circle..
At the airport, rounding out the journey, I ran into another WPF attendee, someone I didn't end up getting to meet at the conference, but the meeting occurred spontaneously at the airport instead.
I also found myself sitting next to a girl on the plane. I was a bit tired, and while I think I am not usually a very judgemental person, I was quite tired and sleep deprived, and figured I would just go to sleep and not interact.. Also on some level, seemed to have some preconceived notion that this person would not be receptive to me, that she would see my t-shirt from WPF or ask where I had been and it would be really awkward for some reason.. I'm usually open to talking and meeting new people, but for some reason I had this idea in my head somewhere that this situation was going nowhere good.. Then during take-off, when you're supposed to "put your seats in the upright position and stow all baggage," the guy in front of me randomly jerked his chair all the way back into the reclined position, right in my face, and we looked at each other and cracked up, and started talking. She asked what I'd been doing, and I decided to talk about it, of course, what else would I have said? And that is definitely an interesting conversation starter, especially with people who are open to it but don't have experience with entheogens.
She seemed surprised but interested, and we talked a lot about it. She apparently was not in Switzerland but in Italy, and was returning late from break as she'd missed her plane the day before. Turns out we go to the same school, same year, and same major- out of the hundreds of seats- we were seated together, and despite the facts that neither of us live in the city we were flying into, and that neither of us were vacationing in the city we flew out of, and the fact that our flights were initially scheduled for different dates and times, we wound up on the same flight.
Got to talk about our classes and school stuff, and she shared her pictures from Italy (it looked amazing) and some stories of her travels. We also talked a lot about entheogens. Studying psych, she knew a bit about such concepts, and was familiar with issues like marijuana, which she supports decriminalizing, and psych meds (with psychoactivity, obviously), but entheogens and psychedelics were something fairly new. She said she had a history of mental illness in her family and that a relative had schizophrenia, which was precipitated by heavy LSD use.
I talked about set and setting, the idea that a trigger for latent mental illness can certainly be a psychedelic, but can also be a bodily illness, or a fight with someone, or anything else, and it is hard to predict, so it is good to know what one is ingesting and why- have a sitter, appropriate context, etc. That psychedelics do not cause these conditions, but that they can, on rare occasions, precede problems in those already possessing the genetic factors or internal susceptibility. We discussed how her perceptions of LSD and family history could precede a bad experience for her, and that when there is family history combined with any personal doubt, it generally means not to go ahead.
I also shared how one of swim's first psilocybin mushrooms trips was ego-shattering death and suffering in a nutshell, and how she overcame that and approached it now, moving in a positive direction. And the research done showing the applications of many entheogens for treating psychological illnesses as well as some more physical or little known conditions- how not everything is for everyone, and there are uses and abuses, but that the positive is becoming acknowledged and that there is tremendous promise for the field we are both studying.
She also mentioned several misconceptions- she thought LSD was invented at Harvard, so we discussed the history and both Hofmann and Leary's contributions and approaches, and psychedelics she was not familiar with (she knew of LSD, in a very negative context, and mushrooms, which many of her friends loved and enjoyed but she'd never done). She also asked about the mechanism of flashbacks, and if that meant the drug stay3ed in the body for that time frame, and so we talked about PTSD and the idea that it was not a physical mechanism, but a psychological one, and the idea of Psychedelic and Spiritual Emergency services (for spiritual crisis with or without psychedelic use), and how having this available could be really beneficial for those having a rough time, so that rather than be traumatized by it later, one can work through it in the here and now (but also that knowing oneself, set/setting, dosage, substance, etc. and having someone available can greatly decrease this possibility, that it can be a conscious choice, rather than some form of drug Russian Roulette)
It was really fascinating, and helped give me some perspective. While the conference was amazing, it was a good reintegration into more ordinary life and surroundings, and the idea of being surrounded by people with so much knowledge and experience was amazing and transforming, it was also an indicator of the need to put this out there to others, in a loving and rational way, and make known not only within the entheogenic community, but also to those with misconceptions, those in psych fields, social work, etc., those interested in evolution, or anthropology, those with addictions and illnesses that could be benefited, etc.
We spent some time talking at the conference about speaking to family and friends about our experiences at WPF and in general, and the need for timing and to meet people where they are at, acknowledge their realities and their mind set and interests to effectively communicate one's own realities and experiences, and while this can be done intuitively on some level, or through long standing knowledge of family and close friends, it was interesting to meet a stranger on a plane, with such similar background and yet such a different one in different ways, and to work with this and discuss it. Full circle...
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